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BartimaeusOne of the series' main protagonists. His chapters are always written in first person. Bartimaeus is a fourth (or fourteenth) level and ancient djinn, summoned in the trilogy by Nathaniel.
- Been There, Shaped History: He often talks about past historical events he had a hand in. Some of them are difficult to believe, but djinni being very ancient, it's possible and even probable that he did participate in most of those historic events he brags about.
- Combat Pragmatist: Although he is about as powerful as his level implies, he often encounters beings more powerful than him and usually avoids direct fighting.
- The Cynic: His millennia of enslavement have left him angry, bitter and cynical.
- Deadpan Snarker: Virtually any situation, no matter how horrible or urgent, meets with mockery.
- Failure Knight: He continues to take Ptolemy's form centuries after his death.
- First-Person Smartass: When he's narrating, Bartimaeus focuses on self-congratulatory remarks and snarky personal remarks about the other characters: time permitting, he'll also tell the story.
- Incoming Ham: He does love a dramatic entrance. He takes a lot of criticism about it.
- Indy Ploy: He tends to respond to difficult situations by doing something ridiculous.
- Jackass Genie: He has no pity at all toward a summoner who doesn't make his instructions perfectly clear.
- Jade-Colored Glasses: His enslavement at the hands of countless magicians changed him into a cynic fairly fast.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He claims to hate humans, but he's not without sympathy toward them.
- Large Ham: Even his Inner Monologue sounds hammy.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: He's a djinni, a spirit with an average amount of power at his disposal. Despite this, he's extremely capable in tricky situations, even though he generally tries to avoid getting into them. As Jessica Whitwell notes after Bartimaeus is dug out of the ruins of the British Museum, he survived the Golem and was able to provide a detailed report on it, which is considerably more than any other spirit has managed.
- Literal Djinni: Most spirits obey the spirit as well as the letter of their commands (unless they can interpret the loose wording as permission to kill the summoner). Bartimaeus is unusual - considered "troublesome" - because he'll act literal-minded just to frustrate his master.
- Miles Gloriosus: He is about mid-level in power as far as spirits go, but to hear him talk sometimes you'd think he's the top of the top. It could be justified by the fact that, according to him recalling his first summonings, spirits are more powerful at their primes and only decay while they are summoned over time.
- Noble Demon: More or less literally.
- Restored My Faith in Humanity: When Kitty proves her trust by coming over to the Other Place, he chooses to help them stop the spirit rebellion even though it would be incredibly dangerous. This was further strengthened after Nathaniel released Bartimaeus during their battle with Nouda, allowing Bartimaeus to survive even when he was fully prepared to sacrifice himself alongside Nathaniel.
- Self-Serving Memory: His memories tend to paint him in a good light, with the sole exception of the death of Ptolemy.
- Smug Snake: He's an anti-hero for whom smugness is a primary characteristic. Most of his accomplishments are either exaggerated or through pure luck... although he can pull off some genuinely amazing things when he gets down to brass tacks.
- Sophisticated as Hell: His narration style usually fluctuates between amusingly colloquial and smartly analytical.
- Unreliable Narrator: While he was genuinely involved in any number of historic events and has many legitimate feats to his name, a good number of his past "accomplishments" are exaggerated, made up, or technically true but far less impressive in context (his "speaking with Solomon" was brief and consisted mainly of pathetic grovelling on his part, for example.)
- A notable example occurs near the climax of the first book: Bartimaeus describes himself as remaining calm and composed despite the dire situation. Immediately afterwards at the start of the next chapter, Nathaniel's third person perspective describes him as visibly panicking.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Grows into this with Nathaniel. Well, sort of.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Seems to take pride in all the different people, animals and monsters he can turn into, often describing all the little details about his current form, while mocking other spirits that only take one form for centuries for their lack of creativity.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Right before Nathaniel and Bartimaeus kill him, Faquarl admits that he misses the Other Place and implies he envies their partnership.
- Been There, Shaped History: He claims to have invented the Trojan Horse. Bartimaeus is skeptical but can't prove anything, as he was in Egypt at the time.
- Chef of Iron: He's fond of taking the form of a meat-cleaver wielding chef, and has been hanging around kitchens since 700 BC. "Lots of nice sharp weapons in kitchens."
- The Chessmaster: Played Makepeace like a fiddle, and may have been doing the same to Nouda.
- Curbstomp Battle: Gives one to four spirits who technically were at his level, although to be completely fair they were all tired and wounded at the time, and due to the unique circumstance, Faquarl had some serious element of surprise on his side.
- Death Seeker: Right after killing Faquarl, Bartimaeus ponders that Faquarl could have perfectly dodged his attack. Actually, Faquarl's last line suggests that he did choose to let himself be killed.
- The Dragon: To Simon Lovelace, and later to Quentin Makepeace and Nouda.
- Dragon-in-Chief: He may be much weaker than Nouda (pretty much everybody is), but Faquarl is the one who does most of the plotting for the spirit rebellion.
- Evil Chef: Faquarl's favorite form to appear in is the shape of a fat, friendly cook. However, the real reason he likes to hang out in kitchens because there are so many knives to choose from there.
- Evil Counterpart: To Bartimaeus. The author even describes the relationship between the two as a friendship gone horribly wrong and that many similarities they share only magnify the enmity between them.
- He Who Fights Monsters: By the third book, he has become this.
- Friendly Enemy: Possibly the most collected and well-mannered spirit, even while facing his worst enemies.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: He's significantly stronger than Bartimaeus, and much more versatile and intelligent than Jabor. While Bartimaeus generally succeed in outmaneuvering him, it's clear that he considers Faquarl the biggest threat on the table.
- Knife Nut: His preferred weapon is a large meat cleaver.
- The Man Behind the Man
- Not So Different: By permanently stealing a magician's body and starting a violent spirit revolt, he becomes the very thing he resents. He comes to realize it.
- The Rival: To Bartimaeus.
- Rock Monster: Bartimaeus remembers Faquarl's oldest form as a slate giant crushing Greek hoplites under its feet.
- Villainous Breakdown: He has one when he confronts Nathaniel and Bartimaeus, who are mind-linked together, and realizes that neither of them has any dominance over another.
- Beast Man: His favored form is an Anubis-like jackalman, something that never varies and that kills him in the end.
- Big Eater: Bartimaeus profiles him as being "always hungry".
- Blood Knight: He doesn't seem to have any interests beyond eating, fighting and destroying.
- The Brute: Monstrously strong, probably the single most powerful djinni in the series, but also an easily outsmarted moron who can't comprehend any strategy beyond Crush. Kill. Destroy!
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Sucked into and then shredded by Ramuthra's rift. Even all his strength didn't avail him in the end.
- Dumb Muscle: Described as "moronically strong to the point of indestructible".
- Leeroy Jenkins: Ostensibly.
- No Indoor Voice: "COWARD! Always you run and sneak and hide. Stand and fight!"
- One Djinni Army: He takes on an entire army of horlas and assorted utukku and survives.
- Unstoppable Rage: When he gets going, he lets nothing in front of him go unblasted, something which Bartimaeus repeatedly takes advantage of.
- A Death in the Limelight: He gets exactly one chapter told from his perspective, which ends with his death.
- Happiness in Slavery: Due to his cushy position and relative authority.
- Heroic Sacrifice: He could easily have gotten away from the golem, but he makes his last stand fighting it instead, to try and save Pinn's shop.
- And I Must Scream: Until Kitty's gang came along, he was sealed inside Gladstone's body, permanently cut off from the Other Place. It did not help his state of mind.
- Ax-Crazy: He is completely insane, which is not surprising, given he was buried alive for centuries. And he was left with quite a few sharp implements to defend Gladstone's tomb with...
- Cloudcuckoolander: A rare very dark example, frequently segueing straight into Ax-Crazy. The effect is even more pronounced in the audiobook version.
- Cool Mask: He wears Gladstone's golden death mask.
- Dem Bones: As he was permanently locked in Gladstone's body he appears as an animated skeleton. Unlike a typical spirit guise, he's a real, physical skeleton.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Gets mentioned in Bartimaeus's flashback at the start of the book, as one of Gladstone's two personal servants who led the British army's assault on Prague.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Enjoys quoting nursery rhymes even as he's busy killing off the entire Resistance.
- Interspecies Romance: His relationship with Khaba borders on this, to say the very least.
- Living Shadow: He takes the form of Khaba's shadow, with the giveaway sign of always being long, dark and directly behind him, no matter the time of day.
- Happiness in Slavery: He has no desire whatsoever to leave his servitude.
- Not So Different: One wonders what Bartimaeus thought of Ammet once he met Ptolemy.
- Softspoken Sadist: He speaks in a barely audible whisper, and is fond of torturing other spirits and subjecting them to unspeakable fates.
- Stockholm Syndrome: One interpretation of his Undying Loyalty. Although it's possible he was always a Sadist who shared Khaba's taste for wanton cruelty.
- Villainous Friendship: His relationship with Khaba is closer to this than the standard master/slave relationship.
Nouda the Terrible
- Bigger Bad: In book 3. Makepeace drives most of the plot, while Faquarl is evidently the brains of the operation, but Nouda is the most powerful player by far.
- Big Eater: What he doesn't destroy or enslave, he eats, and it pretty much doesn't matter what - spirit, human, inanimate object, all goes straight into one of his many maws. This leads to his downfall: the human he commandeered loses cohesion, leaving him vulnerable to a sufficient quantity of iron.
- The Dreaded: Considered the most feared and dangerous spirit ever summoned to Earth with any regularity.
- Eldritch Abomination: He's the real deal, surpassing easily the level of marids. Even the most powerful artifacts, such as Gladstone's staff are a No Sell.
- Evil Overlord: He commands the Spirit Rebellion.
- He Who Fights Monsters: He seeks vengeance against the magicians for millennia of enslavement, but his plans will result in the death and suffering of all humans, not just magicians and their allies.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "Nouda the Terrible".
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Set loose on London, mass casualties immediately ensue.
- The Dog Bites Back: Lovelace summoned Ramuthra to kill all of his enemies in one place. Once Lovelace loses his immunity to the being's powers, Ramuthra promptly eats him.
- Eldritch Abomination: Probably a step above Nouda on this scale - controlling it is simply not possible. Its mere presence causes the elements to rebel against each other and reality to warp.
- Nothing Is Scarier: Ramuthra's form itself is never seen - it is only visible for the warping it causes in the air surrounding it.
Uraziel the GreatThe spirit of Solomon's Ring. By far the most powerful being seen in the series, eclipsing even Ramuthra and Nouda with ease.
- Cast from Hit Points: His immense power has this effect on anyone who wears the ring.
- Catch Phrase: "IT IS DONE."
- Cosmic Entity: The closest thing to an Outer God the series has.
- Lost Superweapon: An unknown pre-Sumerian civilization confined him in the ring... somehow. The user prior to Solomon was bound in chains and then bricked up in a deep vault: Solomon found it centuries later by mere chance.
- The Omnipotent: He can't use his power unless the ring is turned, and he can't free himself from it. Aside from this, his power seems to have no limits at all.
- Power at a Price: The wearer of the ring can have almost anything done in seconds. But even touching the ring brings blazing pain, wearing it is constant agony, and calling him forth from it ages the wielder. Bartimaeus seems confident that a spirit attempting to wield it would be struck Deader Than Dead.
- Reality Warper: What he is commanded to do becomes real.
- Story-Breaker Power: He breaks the series' long established rules of magic without difficulty.
- Summon Bigger Fish: Turning Solomon's Ring will summon him. And he himself is capable of summoning tens of thousands of spirits in an instant.
- Wicked Cultured: Eldritch Abomination tricks are simply beneath him, he is quite calm and well-spoken, and for all his power, he speaks to Solomon like he is an equal.
Nathaniel/John MandrakeOne of the series' main protagonist. At the start of the series, he is an ambitious and talented magician-in-training.
- Ambition Is Evil: He's determined to claw his way into the upper echelons of the government. At first he's just doing it to protect himself, but he gains a taste for power, and his standards start to slip.
- The Apprentice: Deconstructed. All his mentors are perfectly happy to discard him to save their own careers.
- Character Development: Goes from Wide-Eyed Idealist to Anti-Villain Knight Templar to finally Messianic Archetype.
- Child Prodigy: Although no one gave him any attention for it, even his own master.
- Heroic Sacrifice: After his Heel Realization, he lays down his life in order to save Britain from an invastion of demons.
- Improbable Age: He's accepted into the lowest levels of Government at fourteen, and by nineteen he is one of the prime minister's chiefs of staff.
- The Kid with the Leash: Deconstructed.
- Loners Are Freaks: As a child, once the other children recognized him as an apprentice magician.
- Parental Abandonment: While his biological parents are only mentioned very briefly at the beginning of the series, they did give up their child for money.
- Peek-a-Bangs: Has a long hairstyle in the second book, The Golem's Eye, that includes this and is often mercilessly mocked about it by Bartimaeus. By the third book, Ptolemy's Gate, he has abandoned it in favor a cropped military hairstyle modeled after that of the British soldiers that helps him to win favor with the public.
- Smug Snake: A rare protagonist example. In the second book he tries to come off as unflappable and stylish, but he's pretty much as slimy as every other government magician. He gets better in the third book.
- Teen Genius: He's a better magician than most grown men.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Until certain events embittered him to the world. Like Ms. Lutyens getting sacked and Mrs. Underwood's death.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Kind of with Bartimaeus. Despite their constant bickering, he does grow to respect and rely on him a lot.
Kitty JonesOne of the series' main protagonists. She is a commoner who later joins the the Resistance to fight the injustices of the magicians.
- Action Girl: Was a very active member of the Resistance.
- Anti-Magic: Is resistant to low levels of magic, including low-level demons.
- Badass Normal: Exploited her Anti-Magic to fight off magical attacks and some demons.
- She also manages to summon Bartimaeus, despite not being a magician.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Her name is legally "Kathleen Jones," but this is almost never used.
- Only Sane Man: When the Resistance breaks into Gladstone's tomb in The Golem's Eye, she's the only one to sound a note of caution from the start. When they discover six dead bodies in the tomb, she rightly advises that they get out sharpish as there's obviously some trap going on they don't know about. While some are a bit willing to listen at first, they are quickly overcome by greed and her objections are shot down.
- Power of Trust: It's her trust in Bartimaeus that ultimately proves to be pivotal in stopping the spirit rebellion in the last book.
- Tsundere: A classic Type A.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Before she and Jakob got attacked.
- Younger Than They Look: After she gets back from the Other Place.
- 0% Approval Rating: With the possible exception of his own wife, there is not one single character who likes this guy. Even Lovelace, who uses people as a matter of course, finds Underwood a bit disgusting for being willing to sacrifice Nathaniel.
- Apothecary Alligator: An item in his study.
- Beleaguered Bureaucrat: He constantly whines of having no power and regularly notes that his department is terribly understaffed. He's also right about both, but this because he possesses only just enough magical talent to get by and therefore is easily trampled upon.
- Broken Pedestal: To Nathaniel, who at least respected him prior to the incident with Lovelace.
- Dirty Coward: Tried to sacrifice his apprentice to save his sorry hide.
- Disproportionate Retribution: When he catches Nathaniel with summoning equipment in his room, he seems to be considering killing him on the spot, and only doesn't do so because "his judgment would be called into question."
- He also rather fondly recites the story of Disraeli turning his apprentice to stone for accidentally knocking him over, and threatens to do the same to Nathaniel (who doubts he could).
- Grumpy Old Man: He feels passed-over and put-upon, and he's beyond the age where he could realistically hope to work his way up.
- It's All About Me: He's concerned purely with his own career, and only keeps Nathaniel around as long as he does because it benefits him - after all, if Nathaniel does well, that gives Underwood something to boast about.
- Jerkass: Let's just say he's a lot meaner than the Wizard Classic he likes to pretend he is.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: His last act in life was to try to save himself by sacrificing his apprentice's life.
- No Accounting for Taste: What his kind and friendly wife saw in him is anyone's guess.
- Paper Tiger: He pretends to be powerful and respected, but he's a mediocre fool who's quick to cringe and toady when up against more powerful magicians like Lovelace.
- Selective Obliviousness: He's completely oblivious to the fact that Nathaniel absolutely loathes him after the incident with Lovelace, and has no idea how far Nathaniel is advancing his studies. Even when Nathaniel inadvertently reveals a greater knowledge of magic than he's supposed to have (during the attack on Parliament), it flies completely over his head.
- Underestimating Badassery: In spite of increasing evidence that Nathaniel's involved in summoning Bartimaeus, Underwood refuses to believe it until Nathaniel outright confesses.
- Wizard Classic: Strives to maintain the traditional "bushy beard and eyebrows" look. Bartimaeus notes that this is a good indication he's a second-rate poser trying to big himself up (and he's absolutely right).
- Big Bad: Of the first book.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He's disgusted by Underwood trying to sacrifice his own apprentice.
- Evil Counterpart: To Nathaniel.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: He is destroyed by the very spirit he summoned to destroy all his opposition in the government.
- Kick the Dog: What he did to Nathaniel.
- Not So Different: As Nathaniel gets older, Bartimaeus notes that he's picking up a lot of Lovelace's less desirable traits.
- Villain Ball: Humiliating a kid in public purely For the Lulz didn't really work out for him in the long run.
- Villainous Breakdown: After Nathaniel steals the amulet he loses his cool and after Bartimaeus gets the horn he just completely loses it.
- We Can Rule Together: He makes the offer to Nathaniel near the end of the first book, having become impressed by the boy's ability and resourcefulness.
The Mercenary / Verroq
- Anti-Magic: Part of the reason he's the Implacable Man.
- Badass Beard: The toughest human opponent presented in the series: his beard is his most prominent feature.
- Died Standing Up: "Bones in black clothes."
- The Dragon: Initially he appears to be this to Lovelace, but he reveals his primary employer has always been Makepeace.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": His name is only mentioned once in the last book. Other than that, he's just known as "The Mercenary".
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has some blurred scars on the back of his hands.
- Implacable Man: Even without his resistance he's physically strong.
- Knife Nut: Carries in his person a wide set of knifes, blades and shurikens.
- Made of Iron: His degree of invulnerability varies, but seems to spike just after he shrugs off a magical attack.
- Mysterious Mercenary Pursuer: He starts out as a complete unknown, but his mysterious "power" makes him notable. Little is ever learned about his past or his personality.
- Only In It Forthe Money: He works for one villain after another, but he doesn't share any of their ideals.
- Power Parasite: His resistance is so powerful that he not merely shrugs off magic - he absorbs it to a point, temporarily gaining superhuman strength and ability to withstand normal physical damage whenever he is exposed to a big magical attack. Faquarl notices and exploits this by attacking hand-to-hand, without using spells.
- The Quisling: Willingly aligns with Nouda and Faquarl in their Demon Rebellion in exchange for riches.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He is not what he seems.
- Big Bad: Of the entire series.
- Big Bad Wannabe: An unusual example. In the first two books he's The Man Behind the Man to the two Big Bads, yet when he tries to step into the spotlight and enact his own plot in the third book, he's quickly manipulated and killed by Faquarl, who is pretending to be his Number Two Hopkins.
- Chekhov's Gunman: He's mentioned in the first book by a few characters but only becomes prominent in the second where he becomes Nathaniel's ally. He's also seen briefly in disguise retreating from Lovelace's manor before the climax of the first book, having helped construct the massive summoning circle to contain Ramuthra.
- The Chessmaster: In the first two books.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Nathaniel initially dismisses Makepeace as a worthless loon, just a playwright who didn't know his source material. He has his doubts by the third book, which are not entirely unfounded.
- False Friend: To both the Prime Minister and Nathaniel.
- Large Ham: Goes with being a play writer, Nathaniel and Kitty even notice his theatrical flourishes in their narration.
- Karmic Death: He dreams of ultimate power. His body gets it, along with a plethora of Body Horror: his personality is annihilated to make room for the body's new owner.
- The Man Behind the Man: Behind the other villains.
- Smug Snake: Unlike other magicians he's fairly powerful and a competent planner, but in the end he displays the same arrogance all other magicians fall prey to and it ends up being his undoing.
- Unwitting Pawn: Faquarl maneuvered Makepeace into absorbing something he could not control.
- Almighty Janitor: Is a very powerful magician, but he prefers to hold a first line job in his company.
- Ambiguously Evil: Although he is shown as an acquitance to Lovelace and Schyler and the man who sold them the summoning horn, he actually doesn't belong to their conspirating circle, and appears to be completely unaware of it.
- Badass Grandpa: He is the only high level magician to survive the events in the third book, and the only of them who puts a fight when Makepeace's spirits capture all them. In fact, given his lack of spirit aides in contrast with the rest of magicians, he could be one of the few of them who can hold his own without help from demons.
- High-Class Glass: Uses a magic monocle instead of the more usual magic contact lenses wore by the magicians.
- Magic Staff: His cane can fire energy shots.
- Man in White: Wear white suits.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Gets one courtesy of a spirit working for Makepeace. The survivors get him some medical attention, but it's never revealed how extensive his injuries were.
- The Greatest Story Never Told: Bartimaeus reveals a bit about his relationship with Ptolemy in the third book, but it's still mostly unexplored.
- Morality Chain Beyond the Grave: Ptolemy's friendship was treasured by Bartimaeus. It invests him with a little more empathy and patience toward humans than most spirits have.
- Posthumous Character: This is the ancient Egyptian Ptolemy we're talking about. He's not around anymore.
- Restored My Faith in Humanity: A variant: he was the first human to really treat Bartimaeus as a person, and extend trust to him. Up until then, as The Ring of Solomon makes clear, Bartimaeus had no faith in humans at all.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Ptolemy had a scientific (as opposed to pragmatic) interest in spirits. He became determined to obtain justice for the spirits, to end the already ancient pattern of 'master and slave'. But he grew too interested in this long-term goal to pay attention to his personal safety.
- Younger Than They Look: Once he gets back from the Other Place, anyway.
- Action Girl: Her training focused on bodyguard work: she's sent to Solomon's court as an assassin. If she weren't fixated on Undying Loyalty, she might have wondered about that.
- Amazon Brigade: A ridiculously loyal member of it, until the last third of The Ring of Solomon, anyway...
- Expy: Of Kitty in several ways.
- Unwitting Pawn: Balthis, Queen of Sheba, sends Asmira on a Suicide Mission. She goes willingly, but she's not pleased when she learns that she was sent on false pretenses.
Khaba the Cruel
- Bald of Evil: He shaves his head.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Two gouges run down over his cheekbones: they add to his air of menace.
- Obviously Evil: "A cadaver would have crossed the street to avoid him".
- Torture Technician: His extremely creepy obsession with torturing the spirits under his control, often inflicting horrifying fates upon them with his Essence Cages.
- The Starscream: He plots to overthrow Solomon if he can just get the Ring away from the king, and build his own empire. But so are his sixteen rivals, and Solomon is well aware that none of them are serving him out of altruism.
- Villainous Friendship: With Ammet.
- Blessed with Suck: He is the most powerful mortal in the world, but the source of his power is slowly killing him - and he can't find anybody else he'd trust with ultimate power.
- Empowered Badass Normal: He's not a magician, but the Ring makes him essentially a Dimension Lord.
- The Good King: He works to benefit the people. This naturally puts him at odds with his cadre of magicians.